Most of the time, the emotions experienced after childbirth include excitement, joy, fear and anxiety. On some occasions, women will experience the “baby blues” which can insist of mood swings and crying spells. On a rare occasion, this can be a more serious condition known as postpartum depression, a form of depression. This will occur in 10-15% of all new mothers.
How do you know if you’re experiencing merely the baby blues or the more serious postpartum depression? Here are differences in symptoms according to the Mayo Clinic.
Baby Blues: Mood swings, anxiety, sadness, irritability, crying, decreased concentration and trouble sleeping
Postpartum Depression: (symptoms may start out the same as the baby blues but then may increase) Loss of appetite, insomnia, intense irritability and anger, overwhelming fatigue, loss of interest in sexual intimacy, lack of joy in life, severe mood swings, feeling of shame, guilt or inadequacy, difficulty bonding with baby, withdrawl from friends and family, thoughts of harming self or baby
If left untreated, postpartum depression can last for months or even years.
Postpartum depression can be caused by physical, emotional, or lifestyle factors such as a drop in hormones, lack of sleep, exhaustion, or difficulty breastfeeding.
If your symptoms don’t fade after two weeks, get worse, make it hard for you to care for your baby, make it hard to complete everyday tasks or you have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, then you should set up an appointment to speak with your provider and get help.
The Gospel Perspective
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2008). Prevalence of self-reported postpartum depressive symptoms — 17 states, 2004–2005 (57(14);361-366). Retrieved from website: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5714a1.htm
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2012, September 11). Postpartum depression. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/postpartum-depression/DS00546/DSECTION=symptoms